Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health


The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific services.

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Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

Two Mutually Exclusive Local Chromatin States Drive Efficient V(D)J Recombination.
Bolland DJ, Koohy H, Wood AL, Matheson LS, Krueger F, Stubbington MJ, Baizan-Edge A, Chovanec P, Stubbs BA, Tabbada K, Andrews SR, Spivakov M, Corcoran AE

Variable (V), diversity (D), and joining (J) (V(D)J) recombination is the first determinant of antigen receptor diversity. Understanding how recombination is regulated requires a comprehensive, unbiased readout of V gene usage. We have developed VDJ sequencing (VDJ-seq), a DNA-based next-generation-sequencing technique that quantitatively profiles recombination products. We reveal a 200-fold range of recombination efficiency among recombining V genes in the primary mouse Igh repertoire. We used machine learning to integrate these data with local chromatin profiles to identify combinatorial patterns of epigenetic features that associate with active VH gene recombination. These features localize downstream of VH genes and are excised by recombination, revealing a class of cis-regulatory element that governs recombination, distinct from expression. We detect two mutually exclusive chromatin signatures at these elements, characterized by CTCF/RAD21 and PAX5/IRF4, which segregate with the evolutionary history of associated VH genes. Thus, local chromatin signatures downstream of VH genes provide an essential layer of regulation that determines recombination efficiency.

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Cell reports, 15, 2211-1247, 2475-87, 2016

PMID: 27264181

Open Access

Polycomb repressive complex PRC1 spatially constrains the mouse embryonic stem cell genome.
Schoenfelder S, Sugar R, Dimond A, Javierre BM, Armstrong H, Mifsud B, Dimitrova E, Matheson L, Tavares-Cadete F, Furlan-Magaril M, Segonds-Pichon A, Jurkowski W, Wingett SW, Tabbada K, Andrews S, Herman B, LeProust E, Osborne CS, Koseki H, Fraser P, Luscombe NM, Elderkin S

The Polycomb repressive complexes PRC1 and PRC2 maintain embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency by silencing lineage-specifying developmental regulator genes. Emerging evidence suggests that Polycomb complexes act through controlling spatial genome organization. We show that PRC1 functions as a master regulator of mouse ESC genome architecture by organizing genes in three-dimensional interaction networks. The strongest spatial network is composed of the four Hox gene clusters and early developmental transcription factor genes, the majority of which contact poised enhancers. Removal of Polycomb repression leads to disruption of promoter-promoter contacts in the Hox gene network. In contrast, promoter-enhancer contacts are maintained in the absence of Polycomb repression, with accompanying widespread acquisition of active chromatin signatures at network enhancers and pronounced transcriptional upregulation of network genes. Thus, PRC1 physically constrains developmental transcription factor genes and their enhancers in a silenced but poised spatial network. We propose that the selective release of genes from this spatial network underlies cell fate specification during early embryonic development.

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Nature genetics, , 1546-1718, , 2015

PMID: 26323060

Open Access

The pluripotent regulatory circuitry connecting promoters to their long-range interacting elements.
Schoenfelder S, Furlan-Magaril M, Mifsud B, Tavares-Cadete F, Sugar R, Javierre BM, Nagano T, Katsman Y, Sakthidevi M, Wingett SW, Dimitrova E, Dimond A, Edelman LB, Elderkin S, Tabbada K, Darbo E, Andrews S, Herman B, Higgs A, LeProust E, Osborne CS, Mitchell JA, Luscombe NM, Fraser P

The mammalian genome harbors up to one million regulatory elements often located at great distances from their target genes. Long-range elements control genes through physical contact with promoters and can be recognized by the presence of specific histone modifications and transcription factor binding. Linking regulatory elements to specific promoters genome-wide is currently impeded by the limited resolution of high-throughput chromatin interaction assays. Here we apply a sequence capture approach to enrich Hi-C libraries for >22,000 annotated mouse promoters to identify statistically significant, long-range interactions at restriction fragment resolution, assigning long-range interacting elements to their target genes genome-wide in embryonic stem cells and fetal liver cells. The distal sites contacting active genes are enriched in active histone modifications and transcription factor occupancy, whereas inactive genes contact distal sites with repressive histone marks, demonstrating the regulatory potential of the distal elements identified. Furthermore, we find that coregulated genes cluster nonrandomly in spatial interaction networks correlated with their biological function and expression level. Interestingly, we find the strongest gene clustering in ES cells between transcription factor genes that control key developmental processes in embryogenesis. The results provide the first genome-wide catalog linking gene promoters to their long-range interacting elements and highlight the complex spatial regulatory circuitry controlling mammalian gene expression.

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Genome research, 25, 1549-5469, 582-97, 2015

PMID: 25752748

Open Access

Direct sequencing of small genomes on the Pacific Biosciences RS without library preparation.
Coupland P, Chandra T, Quail M, Reik W, Swerdlow H

We have developed a sequencing method on the Pacific Biosciences RS sequencer (the PacBio) for small DNA molecules that avoids the need for a standard library preparation. To date this approach has been applied toward sequencing single-stranded and double-stranded viral genomes, bacterial plasmids, plasmid vector models for DNA-modification analysis, and linear DNA fragments covering an entire bacterial genome. Using direct sequencing it is possible to generate sequence data from as little as 1 ng of DNA, offering a significant advantage over current protocols which typically require 400-500 ng of sheared DNA for the library preparation.

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BioTechniques, 53, 1940-9818, 365-72, 2012

PMID: 23227987

Open Access

Nuclear RNA sequencing of the mouse erythroid cell transcriptome.
Mitchell JA, Clay I, Umlauf D, Chen CY, Moir CA, Eskiw CH, Schoenfelder S, Chakalova L, Nagano T, Fraser P

In addition to protein coding genes a substantial proportion of mammalian genomes are transcribed. However, most transcriptome studies investigate steady-state mRNA levels, ignoring a considerable fraction of the transcribed genome. In addition, steady-state mRNA levels are influenced by both transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms, and thus do not provide a clear picture of transcriptional output. Here, using deep sequencing of nuclear RNAs (nucRNA-Seq) in parallel with chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) of active RNA polymerase II, we compared the nuclear transcriptome of mouse anemic spleen erythroid cells with polymerase occupancy on a genome-wide scale. We demonstrate that unspliced transcripts quantified by nucRNA-seq correlate with primary transcript frequencies measured by RNA FISH, but differ from steady-state mRNA levels measured by poly(A)-enriched RNA-seq. Highly expressed protein coding genes showed good correlation between RNAPII occupancy and transcriptional output; however, genome-wide we observed a poor correlation between transcriptional output and RNAPII association. This poor correlation is due to intergenic regions associated with RNAPII which correspond with transcription factor bound regulatory regions and a group of stable, nuclear-retained long non-coding transcripts. In conclusion, sequencing the nuclear transcriptome provides an opportunity to investigate the transcriptional landscape in a given cell type through quantification of unspliced primary transcripts and the identification of nuclear-retained long non-coding RNAs.

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PloS one, 7, 1932-6203, e49274, 2012

PMID: 23209567

Open Access

Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in low cell numbers by reduced representation bisulfite sequencing.
Smallwood SA, Kelsey G

Development of high-throughput sequencing technologies now enables genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation of mammalian cells and tissues. Here, we present a protocol for Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing (RRBS) applicable to low amounts of starting material (from 200 to 5,000 cells). RRBS is a cost-effective and powerful technique offering the advantages of absolute DNA methylation quantification and single nucleotide resolution while covering mainly CpG islands. Typically one sequencing experiment using the Illumina Genome Analyser IIx platform provides information on the DNA methylation status of more than half of the CpG islands of the mouse genome.

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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 925, 1940-6029, 187-97, 2012

PMID: 22907498